A few months ago, I stumbled across a blog article that caught my interest. It was titled, “The Best Goal is No Goal“. My first initial reaction was Yeah, right.
You see, I am very goal driven. I love goals. I set goals constantly. And, I have successfully completed many amazing goals like:
- Started a video production company called Top Pup Media
- Wrote a book
- Made a feature film
- Created a reality TV show
- Finished a half Ironman triathlon
- And many other goals
Yet, when I read through that article about no goals, it was oddly appealing to me. And, I wasn’t sure why. What was drawing me to this concept of having no goals?
As I began to think through this idea of having no goals, even as the new year was approaching, I began to understand a bit more about why it was appealing to me.
Goals can be a Difficult Taskmaster
While setting and achieving goals can be very satisfying, they can also be a demanding taskmaster. This may be more about my desire not to fail, but I found that goals are often like a boss with high expectations. Every unfinished goal screams at you to get to work. It can be hard to rest or even enjoy life with those unmet goals looming over you.
Again, this may be more about my personality, but as I look back over my life, goals have been more about pushing me to achieve instead of me reaching to accomplish.
Goals can create a Wrong Focus
This was a big one for me. I realized that goals tend to focus your attention on the destination. In doing so, you miss the journey. Life is so much more important than reaching a goal. Life is about the journey, the moments each and every day that you get to experience with family, friends and co-workers. With your eyes fixed on a goal, you can so easily miss the beauty and joy around you.
Another problem is that we often define ourselves through our goals. For me, it was “I’m a business owner. I’m a filmmaker. I’m an author. I’m an Ironman.” My goals defined me. And once those goals were achieved, where was I going to find my next identity? The cycle was very unsatisfying.
What did the Bible say about goals in the everyday life of a believer? Immediately, I thought about Matthew 6:27-34 where Jesus encourages us to not worry about tomorrow, but let today be your focus. Then, I thought about the Lord’s prayer (Matthew 6:11), “Give us this day our daily bread.” Again, Jesus was encouraging us to let our focus and concern be with today.
Then, I thought about Paul and his writings. He often used athletic events and races as metaphors for living the Christian life. He said things like:
- “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful” (2 Timothy 4:7).
- “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step” (1 Corinthians 9:24-26a).
It started to become clear. Paul had only one goal: to finish strong. His one goal in life was to run the race set before him and finish well. It became really clear in Hebrews:
“Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith” (v 12:1a-2b).
That’s the goal! To fix our eyes on Jesus and run with endurance the race God has set before us.
No More Goals, only Milestones
So, do we throw away all our goals and live life day to day? That’s a good question. I don’t really know, but here’s where I’ve landed—I’ve decided to not set any goals like I did before. Instead, I’m going to have milestones.
What’s the difference? Milestones are simply those markers along the way to monitor my progress, to make sure I’m moving in the right direction. Milestones are not a destination nor a goal. They are simply measuring points along the journey while I focus on my one goal—to fix my eyes on Christ and finish the race strong.
In my search of the scripture, I came across these verses in James. It further solidified my desire to remove any goals and enjoy the journey:
Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil (James 4:13-16).
Prayer: Father, help me to fix my eyes upon Christ, the one true Goal that we should strive for.